The ‘ultimate California bikepacking adventure’: Rapha's newest film follows Lael Wilcox, Chris Burkard and others as they tackle the inaugural Yomp Rally

Streaming now, the Yomp Rally documentary relives the five days in the saddle that forever changed this author’s perspective on biking

Scenes from the 2023 Rapha Yomp Rally
(Image credit: Gretchen Powers)

Three-hundred-and-eighty-eight miles (624km) across coastal desert, the rugged Sierra Madre range, high pine forests and mountain chaparral. The inaugural Rapha Yomp Rally was a stunning adventure that forever changed my perspective on biking

A rally, not a race, Rapha’s head of marketing, Brandon Camarda —himself a Silk Road Mountain Race finisher— modeled the test event after the bike-packing events that are gaining traction throughout Europe. The format is simple: complete the given route within five days, be prepared to take care of your needs, offer a helping hand to your fellow riders when needed, and be respectful to the surroundings and its inhabitants. 

Some, like ultra-endurance racers Chris Burkard and Lael Wilcox opted to complete the challenge in as little time as possible, pushing through the nights to get to the L.A. finish line in as little as two days. Most, however, needed every bit of the allotted five days to complete the challenging course set before them, which traversed across some seriously rugged terrain.

We climbed more than 42,000’ (12,800 meters) on fully loaded bikes, conquering the iconic Gibraltar Climb (—a road which has seen the likes of Egan Bernal  and Julian Alaphilippe soar to victory in the Tour of California—), Mount Figueroa and the Sierra Madre and Santa Monica mountain ranges along the way. We spent two days in the wilderness, following the spine of the mountains and gazing over desolate mountaintops as far as the eye could see. We also sped along the Pacific Coast Highway, wound through California wine country and enjoyed an at-times car-free Mulholland Drive, the famous winding road high in the Hollywood Hills. 

Rapha’s camera crews were there to capture the experience along the way, and you can now re-live the ride in Rapha’s newest film on YouTube

Inspired? We’re told the Yomp Rally will return in 2024. Details are forthcoming on the Yomp Rally website.

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